UEFA Champions League


Massimiliano Allegri heaped praise on his Juventus side after a scintillating performance saw them come within a whisker of the Champions League semi-finals at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

"We put in a wonderful performance," said the Bianconeri coach. "We did the same for an hour back in Turin too, it’s just that the result fooled everyone – but not me. We kept the door shut at the back and played very well tonight – we did really well to turn it around. I was sure we would after having seen our performance in the first leg."

There was disappointment too, of course, but Allegri was determined that Juventus must take the positives from a frustrating night in Madrid: "There’s no use crying about it," he said. "We’re disappointed but we need to get that out of our system because we’re back in league action on Sunday. Nights like this make you stronger."

Allegri was unwilling to be drawn on the debate over the penalty: "We’ve lost – there’s not much more to add. The penalty tonight was a similar incident to the one involving [Juan] Cuadrado in the first leg. There was a lot of confusion. We’re left with a bitter taste after coming within reach of extra time and being able to really go for it. I would have had two subs to work with – I’d held those back to change the game. That said, over the course of the two legs, I think both teams deserved to go through."

The Juventus boss ended with a rallying cry for all connected with the Bianconeri: "Tonight was the umpteenth demonstration of how Juventus as a team and as a club have come on leaps and bounds in recent years," he said. "We produced a similar performance away at Bayern too and sadly it’s not gone our way tonight either. Credit where credit is due – we need to keep moving in this direction. Tonight’s match will definitely provide a big boost and give us the belief that we can go into next year’s Champions League with confidence."

(Photo LaPresse)